Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It Was Another Sucker Rally

Answering the question posed on Monday, the suckers are about to be reeled in.

After Meredith Whitney singlehandedly boosted the Dow by 185 points - the best performance in 6 weeks - with her call for an ever-higher, ever-growing Goldman Sachs, Tuesday's follow-through was nothing more than a gaping, loud yawn which could be heard booming down the canyons of Wall Street all the way to the beaches at Del Mar.

Action was spotty and choppy as the indices see-sawed across the break-even line. Eventually, some brave bulls hung in until the final bell, but the sentiment was far from universal. In fact, Goldman Sachs, which reported better-than-expected earnings for the second quarter, and was up 7 points Monday, finished the day up a very modest 22 cents.

Dow 8,359.49, +27.81 (0.33%)
Nasdaq 1,799.73, +6.52 (0.36%)
S&P 500 905.84, +4.79 (0.53%)
NYSE Composite 5,805.58, +44.21 (0.77%)

Although advances were broad-based with winners getting past losers, 4054-2274, new lows retained their edge over new highs, 59-56, and volume was pretty much confined to the boys at Goldman and JP Morgan plus a few hedge funds in New Canaan, CT. Everyone else, it seems, is where they should be: on vacation.

NYSE Volume 978,933,000
Nasdaq Volume 1,890,954,000

On a happier note, Bernie Madoff began serving his 150-year prison sentence at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex, in Durham, North Carolina, today. Bernie will be in good company. The prison also houses John Rigas, the Aldephia Communications scoundrel among other tax cheats, forgers and scammers. I case you want to check on Bernie's well-being, he can be found under prison number 61727-054, at the federal prison system's web site.

Commodity traders apparently aren't sold on either recovery or recession, as prices stalled out on Tuesday. Oil fell 17 cents, to $59.52, gold gained 30 cents, to $922.80, while silver tacked on 7 cents, to $12.86. Most other commodities were traded within small ranges.

The Bureau of Labor statistics released the Producer Price Index for June, showing a 1.8% seasonally-adjusted gain over May, which is a little bit misleading since the finished goods prices declined 4.6% over the past year. While the 1.6% gain in one month may be alarming to some, most of the veterans on Wall Street realize we're in a bit of deflation, so the number didn't engender more "inflation" talk.

After the close, Yum Brands (YUM) and Intel (INTC) both issued 2nd quarter results that beat the street. The rally could have been merely taking a breather, though investors may also be getting pickier with earnings increases slim.

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